Earlier this morning I wrote a piece that criticized the City of Kawartha Lakes for their tone deaf messaging yesterday regarding the payment of municipal taxes and utilities.
In an announcement released today at 1:30 pm — accompanied by a video of Mayor Andy Letham reading the statement at 11:30 am — the Mayor apologized for that message claiming that the intent of the message was to instruct residents how to pay their bill with city offices closed to the public. (See the mayor’s video on our Facebook page.)
The mayor also announced that, “no essential services will be disconnected. There will be no penalty or interest applied to any account until further notice.” That is, thankfully, the opposite of what the original message said.
“Relief and flexibility are on the way,” he added.
This is good news and we should welcome it. Hopefully none of us will have to take advantage of this relief, but many of us probably will.
And I for one think we should all take Letham’s apology at face value. As I mentioned in the piece, now is not the time for fighting, partisan or otherwise. Everyone knows that the Mayor didn’t pen that message himself, but he took responsibility, apologized and more importantly announced a much welcomed relief package.
It was a misstep — one that angered a lot of us — but I think we should all consider that matter closed. It can, in fact, serve as a learning opportunity for the city and all of us: These are very tense times that are just beginning, so our words, tone and meaning are more important than ever.
Letham went on to discuss other crucial matters and he sternly advised returning residents to follow protocol.
“We’re very glad that you’re home safely, we hoped you had a good holiday. Now, you need to self-quarantine for two weeks. This is crucial, this is very important, this is not optional, you need to do that now as soon as you return, no exception, he said.
He also chastised those residents who are not taking this crisis seriously, reminding us all of the high number of vulnerable citizens we have in our City.
On this the mayor is 100 per cent right and that is exactly what good leaders should be saying, as often and loudly as possible.